New stuff in Beijing: The Little Easy, Migas’ new rooftop, Mosto’s extension

Little Easy's neighbors

The Little Easy

New Orleans is all about tequila given the number of shots and lime wedges flying about last Friday at newly opened The Little Easy on the Sanlitun strip proper. Then again, my customer sample size was small, consisting of one gregarious Floridian with a bagful of cash. Other drinks include Harbin beer at rmb25 for a tall boy, Slow Boat beer at rmb40 per glass or three for rmb100, and about a dozen cocktails, including Hurricanes. The Little Easy has already worked out a few pricing issues, says consultant Chad Lager. Case in point: a vodka Red Bull carried a rmb60 price tag last Friday. Unfortunately, it looks like the Little Easy dropped rather than raised the price on this one and thus lost a chance to keep out the riffraff — kidding, always kidding.

The Little Easy has two floors. Downstairs is the bar, some table seating and a stage that would work well for small bands, a comedy night or perhaps one of those poles that are so ubiquitous on this street. (Or perhaps pole-dancing comedians who play guitar?) Upstairs are booths, including a large lounge unit in the center and three tighter ones at the window. As far as I could tell, there is one toilet and it is a squatter.

A word of caution: be careful of that first step drop-off at the inner door. On the other hand, you can always avoid it and sit outside: the free entertainment includes listening to bar touts in action and watching the singers / dancers through the window of the place next door. I haven’t had great experiences on this street over the years, and imagine it won’t be a little easy to change the area’s prevalent attitude that hard-sell tactics work and that most visitors are one-offs, but here’s hoping The Little Easy is one small step in a new direction.

Migas

When does a venue become too good at impressing the scene? Perhaps right now in the case of Migas, given that doubling the size of its rooftop – which a) would be a daunting undertaking for most places and b) is in a space that already ranks among the city’s best – seems like simply another task on the to-do list for this team. After all, it was only a few months ago that this establishment successfully opened a very cool bar on the sixth floor.

The new space is north of those giant eggs — if you’ve been up top, you know what I mean. When finished, it will mean three bars on the rooftop, including one for tapas. The opening is set for April 27, with a Strawberry Festival after-party scheduled on April 29, says Eduardo Gutierrez. After that, these guys will need a new challenge. Maybe turning the Bird’s Nest into the world’s biggest open demonstration kitchen?

Mosto

After a few delays, Mosto has opened its new extension, and celebrated the occasion with a party last weekend. The new semi-private area can hold about a dozen people, comes with its own door and has close proximity to the bathrooms, which have been moved from that dogleg out back to close to the front of the restaurant.

By the way, sibling restaurant Modo is continuing with its happy hours on wine: get pours from that enomatic machine for half-price, from 6 PM to 8 PM, Monday to Thursday, which translates into excellent value. And look for Mosto to soon start a happy hour of its own, says Alex Molina.

More Mosto...

A century of The Titantic: A quiz, cocktails and ten-course meals

The Titanic set sail from England 100 years ago today. The ship made two stops, first in France and then in Ireland, before a fateful collision with an iceberg four days later led to its sinking and the death of more than 1,500 passengers. That sinking ranks among the greatest tragedies of its era and has remained a source of fascination for many people and of many books, films and songs.

For those interested in the details, Steven Schwankert of Beijing-based SinoSchuba will host Titanic Trivia: A Night to Remember on Sunday, April 15, at 12SQM. The quiz starts at 7 PM and the prizes include a dive at the Blue Zoo and cocktails.

For those interested in wine and cocktail history, Wine Enthusiast reports that the ship’s manifest listed “1,000 bottles of wine, 850 spirits bottles and 191 liquor cases”. It further states (my highlights):

…a 1911 menu from the Olympic (Titanic’s sister ship) lists the Manhattan, Tom Collins and John Collins. “Those were the cosmos and appletinis of the time,” says Toby Maloney of Alchemy Consulting.

Other drinks can be tied to a Titanic passenger who perished, John Jacob Astor IV. Around the time Astor merged his Astoria Hotel with his cousin’s Waldorf Hotel in New York City, the Bronx was invented. Other cocktails crafted there include the Rob Roy and the Robert Burns.

There is no shortage of cocktail bars in our fair city in which to order one of those drinks and raise a glass in memoriam.

Also of note, Hullett House in Hong Kong will hold a Titanic-themed dinner on April 14 that includes 1907 Heidsieck Monopole Gout Americain, bubbly popular with the well-to-do at the time and bottles of which were sourced at ~rmb70,000 per pop:

….Hullett House is recreating the lavish ten-course dinner menu served in the ship’s First Class Dining saloon on April 14th 1912, the last dinner to be ever served there…. The Dinner on RMS Titanic is served in the opulent surroundings of the JP Hennessy room in the St George restaurant in Hullett House, one of Hong Kong’s magnificent colonial buildings originally built in 1881. The opulence of this lavish dinner will be authentically recreated down to the waiters’ uniforms and table setting. Guests will eat from fine bone china plates originally designed by William Brownfield & Sons and used on board the Titanic.

The cost of the dinner: HKD15,000. And, it is invite-only. Hullett House will have other Titanic-themed meals, however, and you can get more details here.

Finally, for those who prefer not to be reminded of the harsh realities nature tends to shove in the face of humanity in its most immodest moments, there is always the Titanic II, available at Flamme tonight. This drink wasn’t made in honor of the original ship or even the James Cameron-directed movie, but for a sequel that is so bad it is (kind of) good. A few of these and you’ll feel like you’re the king or queen of the world.

Perk up, Beijing II: Ricci Cafe now open in Wudaokou

Last fall, I posted that the Beijing food and beverage scene would be giving a nod to a laowai of old — see Perk up, Beijing: Wudaokou to get cafe named after ‘total bad-ass’ — and that was realized today with the official opening of Ricci Cafe. Look for a menu that includes sandwiches, salads and soups as well as beverages such as the Spicy Sichuan Mocha (that last item does sound kind of bad-ass). The menu was created by Michael Rosenblum, rather than Brian McKenna as originally planned, with Facility Asia and Bite-Size Buddha involved with the design and music respectively, says Ryan Wedeking. Check the Ricci Cafe website for a map and more details. I’ll have more on this place soon. In the meantime, some pics from opening day.